Salt Route Trekking

salt-route-trekkingSalt Route Trekking Bhutan’s newest trekking route, the “Salt Trek,” has recently opened in 2012 in Trashigang, in the eastern region of Bhutan. The term “salt trek route” is derived from the purpose it served prior to the construction of the national highway from Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar. The people of the Eastern Dzongkhag’s (districts), used to make voyages via this route, to take salt and silk from the border town of Samdrup Jongkhar. This trek will take you through pristine broadleaved and pine forests with spectacular views of villages and mountains amidst the clouds. Although this nature-based trek route does not lead into really high altitudes, it is tough and involves long steep descents and ascents.

This trek also takes in a visit to the awe inspiring Taktsang Monastery (Tigers Nest) and to visit two other Dzongs in Paro on arrival.

We can customise this trek to suit your needs.

Trek Facts

Trek: Salt Route
Trek starts: Nelang
Trek duration: 6 days/17 days including transportation
Grade: Moderate to strenuous
Maximum altitude: 2218m
Minimum altitude: 686m
Trek ends: Cheya

Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and a representative of Unique Nepal Adventure Trek will welcome and transfer you to your selected hotel by private vehicle.

Day 2: Fly from Kathmandu to Paro (2250m). This flight into Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights to take, as it flies past Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and many more peaks. The flight takes around an hour and a half. We will then go to our hotel and take refreshment and visit Ta Dzong (National Museum) and Paro Rinpung Dzong.

Day 3: After breakfast, we drive to Kyichu Lhakhang. King Songtsän Gampo built the Lhakhang in the 7th century AD. The associated legend is that – this is one of 108 Lhakhang’s built in a single night by the king to tame his kingdom’s borders. The next stop is the ancient ruins of Drukgyal Dzong (30 minutes). The Dzong is a monument to the Shabdrung’s victory against an invasion of allied Tibetan-Mongolian forces in 1649. The name “Drukgyal Dzong” thus translates to “Fortress of Victory”. The Dzong was destroyed in a fire in the 1950s. On clear days, Drukgyal is an excellent place to view the glorious mountain Jomolhari. Return to stay for lunch, rest and prepare for the trek up to Taktsang Monastery (the “Tiger’s Nest”).

Drive to the start of the trek. Trek (or horse ride) to Taktsang Monastery (trek time is 2-3 hours depending on weather and fitness level).Taktsang is perched on a precipitous 900 meter cliff. The monastery has been restored at painstaking efforts to former glory after a fire in 1998. The legend is that Guru Padmasambhava flew to this holy place on the back of tigress to meditate. More recently, one of the most enlightened abbots in modern Bhutan history, Geshe Gendun Rinchen (1926 – 1997) also known as Draphugpa (Of the Caves), was born in a small cave by the path to the monastery. Tea and refreshments will be taken at Taktsang Café for about an hour’s rest to take photos and view the scenery. We will then descend to the road point (horses cannot be ridden) and drive back to Paro to prepare for the trek.

Day 4: Fly to Yonphula airport in Trashigang. This airport is currently closed until 2015 for runway repairs. Alternatively, fly to Bathpalathang airport in Jakar. Stay overnight at a hotel.

Day 5: Drive to Mongar by private vehicle which takes about 7 hours and stay overnight in a hotel.

Day 6: Drive to Nelang by private vehicle which takes about 9 to 10 hours.

Day 7: Nelang – Radingphu
The actual trek starts from Nelang downhill for about 45 minutes until we reach the Duri Chhu formed as a result of three streams namely Phudungri, Manchuri, and Morongri. Once we reach Duri, the trek follows the river on a straight stretch for about two hours and will halt at Duktsiri for lunch. One of the significant aspects of this stretch is that trekkers have to criss-cross Duri Chhu seven times on traditional log bridges until we reach Duktsiri, which is where we take lunch.

After lunch, the trek follows Duri Chhu for another two hours. Here again the visitors will have to criss-cross the river six times on traditional log bridges before reaching Radingphu which is a perfect site to stop for the night. Radingphu is a vast flat area, which can accommodate almost sixty to eighty tents with water facilities readily available. This is an ideal place for visitors who are interested in swimming and for taking a splash in the river.

Note: It is very important to carry your own water from as there is no water on this stretch.

Day 8: Radingphu – Mongling
From the base camp at Radingphu, there is a steep 3 hour climb to reach Dotak where the visitors can stop for lunch. Dotak is situated on the border between Pemagatshel and Samdrup Jongkhar.

After lunch, the trek follows a steep climb for another two hours until we reach Mongling.  On the way there is a place called Zerim, which is a flat grassy land shrouded by broadleaved trees. From Zerim, we will be treated to a beautiful bird’s eye view of Deothang valley. From Zerim, the trek leads to a slow climb for about one hour, from where the trail follows a straight stretch, until we reach Regonpo on the base of Yonglaphu. There is a small spring at close proximity to Regonpo.  From Regonpo the trek takes a straight stretch until we reach Mongling on the Tshelingkhor – Pemagatshel highway, which is an ideal location to rest for the night. Water is readily available at Mongling. If the visitors wish to continue onwards and travel to Demrizam for the night, they can drive via the farm road. It is a one hour drive from Mongling to Demrizam.

Day 9: Mongling – Demrizam
The satellite town of Kherigonpa is half an hour drive from Mongling. From Mongling we get a beautiful bird’s eye view of some portion of Pemagatshel and Deothang.  The stretch between Mongling to Demrizam is a slow descent crossing the farm road several times. From Mongling, the visitors if they wish can visit Yongla Gompa. Yongla Gompa observes its annual religious ceremony known as Jali Phurpa presided by Yongla Lam. The religious ceremony is accompanied by mask dances and folk dances performed by both monks and layman. The other religious site to visit is the Jangchup Chorten constructed by Rangshikhar Lam.

Day 10: Demrizam – Denchung
Demrizam was traditionally where traders stopped to rest for the night in the past. Water is readily available and the river provides an ideal place to enjoy some swimming and fishing. Fishing however requires permits that your travel operators can arrange for you. It will be necessary for trekkers to   carry their own water, as there is no water on this stretch of the trek. The camp site at Demrizam has been cleared properly and water facilities are readily available. The next day the trek ascends in a slow climb until we reach Tsatshi Danri for the lunch break. After lunch we will begin a steep descent to reach the Tonglingdrang suspension bridge. From here on, it is a gradual ascent and straight stretch to Denchung by the side of the Khaling River where we will camp for the night. The Denchung Campsite has been properly cleared, but water should be collected from the nearby river approximately 100 meters away.

Day 11: Denchung – Cheya
From Denchung the trek follows the Khaling Chhu for a little more than two hours, where we reach Liza for lunch. After lunch the trek follows a steep ascent through beautiful pine forests until we reach Cheya. The stretch from Denchung to Cheya will probably be the most difficult section of the trek as the path is a steep climb. The campsite at Cheya is very beautiful near the Cheya Tsho (lake), where water is readily available.

Day 12: Cheya – Trashigang
The last day of the trek will be from Cheya to Trashigang. There are two options:  visitors can either ride to Trashigang from Cheya via Khentongmani, or they can trek from Cheya to Khentongmani and take a ride from Khentongmani. Since the trek follows the farm road, it is advisable that the vehicles move to Cheya Tsho for boarding. Stay overnight at a hotel.

Day 13: Fly back to Paro. Alternatively an early morning start and drive back to Jakar. This will be a very long day.

Day 14: Fly from Jakar to Paro and do some sightseeing and shopping for some souvenirs. Stay overnight at a hotel.

Day 15: Fly back to Kathmandu. Stay overnight at your selected hotel in Kathmandu.

Day 16: Souvenir and sightseeing in Kathmandu.

Day 17: A representative ofUnique Nepal Adventure Trek will drop you off at Tribhuvan International Airport by private vehicle.

Price Includes:

  • Airport pick-up and drop off by private vehicle.
  • Two nights in your selected Kathmandu hotel with breakfast.
  • All meals during the trek (lunch, dinner, breakfast and tea or coffee).
  • Accommodation in a hotel in Paro, Jakar and Trashigang.
  • Accommodation in twin shared tents with mattress.
  • All necessary equipment for camping.
  • One English speaking government trained license holder and well informed trekking guide.
  • Dependent on group size, cook, kitchen boy and extra horses)
  • All expenses for guide and porters – meals, accommodation, salary, equipment, insurance, transportation (bus/flights) etc.
  • First Aid kit bag.
  • Government and local area taxes where applicable. These include Royalty fees and road permit fees.
  • Return transportation from Kathmandu to Paro by flight.
  • Return transportation from Paro to Jakar by flight.
  • Return transportation from Jakar to the start and end of trek by private vehicle.
  • A Bhutanese visa fee, where the cost is dependent on the time of year you visit. See the link for Bhutan Information for prices.

Price Excludes:

  • Nepalese entry visa fee and departure tax. (See the ‘Visa Information’ link under ‘Trekking Info’ for current fees)
  • Travel insurance.
  • Soft and alcoholic drinks (mineral water, hot water, coke, fanta, beer, spirits, etc).
  • Snacks (Chocolate, biscuits etc).
  • Hot water, hot shower, heater charge, battery charge, phone calls and laundry service.
  • Donation, tips and personal expenses.
  • Emergency evacuation and medical equipment.
  • In case of natural calamities i.e. political unrest, cancellation of flight due to weather, landslides, etc, the extra charge will be borne by themselves.
  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu.
  • Please note that you cannot hire equipment and other personal items in Bhutan such as (sleeping bag, down jacket, hiking boots, etc). You must either bring these items into the country by yourself, or they can be hired from Kathmandu.